LEWISTON, Maine -- Swarming defense and offensive ball movement carried the Bates women's basketball team to its most dominating victory since early December, as the Bobcats ran past UMaine-Presque Isle 88-51 on Tuesday night at Alumni Gymnasium.
Senior Lauren Dobish (Chambersburg, Pa.) scored a game-high 17 points for Bates (9-11), while junior Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) and first-year Molly Brown (South Dartmouth, Mass.) combined for 28 points and 14 rebounds.
Sophomore Olivia McNally (Sherman, Maine) led the Owls with 11 points, followed by junior Emily Pelletier (Fort Kent, Maine) with 10, first-year Becca Campbell (Washburn, Maine) with nine and senior Emily Moore (Lisbon, Maine) with eight. First-year Amber Cloutier (Lewiston, Maine) passed out a team-high four assists.
Twelve players scored and 12 players combined for 27 assists out of Bates' 38 field goals, indicating excellent ball movement by the Bobcats. Senior Annie Burns (Topsfield, Mass.) amassed game highs of nine assists and four steals in only 17 minutes on the floor. Bates also outrebounded UMPI 40-29, the Bobcats' third-best rebounding margin this season.
UMPI (8-11) committed 28 turnovers to Bates' season-low eight giveaways, the Bobcats' best turnover difference this season; Bates outscored UMPI 38-6 in points off turnovers, and 21-3 in second-chance points.
The Owls played evenly with the Bobcats over the first 10 minutes of the game, taking their final lead at 18-16 with 9:55 5o go on a jumper by Moore, assisted by Pelletier. Dobish made a jumper to tie the game, and then Dobish rebounded an Owls miss and fed Beaulieu for a three-pointer at the other end for a 21-18 lead.
Dobish's jumper began a 17-0 run for the Bobcats, putting them ahead 33-18 with 5:32 left in the half. Bates made five steals during the run and eight of 10 shots, including nine points by Beaulieu and six by Dobish.
Pelletier made a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes of the period to help the Owls cut the deficit from 14 (36-22) to eight (38-30), before Brown made a three with 42 seconds left, putting Bates ahead 41-30 at intermission. Beaulieu scored 11 points in the first half, while Dobish added eight, and Pelletier had eight for UMPI.
Bates didn't waste time in the second half in raising its lead into the twenties. Burns made a jumper for a 51-30 lead, and then assisted on a three by Dobish after a steal by Beaulieu to cap a 13-2 Bates run to begin the period. The lead climbed into the thirties as Bates head coach Jim Murphy sent wave after wave of substitutions, trying to wear down the Owls. Thirteen players saw playing time for Bates in both halves, and only Dobish and Beaulieu played more than 19 minutes, at 21 apiece.
Bates and UMPI will play a rematch in Presque Isle on Feb. 15 at 5:30pm.
Bates faces No. 1 nationally ranked and defending Division III champion Amherst on Friday at 6pm, followed by Senior Day on Saturday, as the Bobcats play host to Trinity College at 2pm.